California Central Coast Recipes
Stuffed Anaheim Chile Peppers, Santa Cruz Style
This is one of the first "California" Recipes I learned from my Mother-in-law when I came to California to marry my husband. She learned it from an old farmer at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market who's Spanish ancestors were original settlers back in Colonial California.
It is very different from the Mexican "Chili Relano" because it is stuffed with bread crumbs and cheese instead of just cheese, and it is baked, not breaded or deep fried. It is a much lighter, healthier and I think fresher tasting way to cook the chili peppers.
You can serve these as an entree or a side dish. If you want to also serve some meat, pork loin cutlets go extremely well with these.
When selecting the Anaheim peppers, choose some straight ones for ease in stuffing and presentation.
Preparation time: 40 minutesCooking time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
8 Anaheim Chili Peppers , tops cut off and sliced lengthwise open, seeds removed and rinsed out
10 to 12 slices French bread , chopped into soft crumbs
1 Medium-large onion , chopped
4 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
3 Large cloves garlic , chopped
3 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese , shredded
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Dash Cayenne pepper to personal taste
Reduced Sodium Chicken broth
Additional Monterey Jack Cheese for topping peppers. shredded
Note: For the amount of bread crumbs you need, figure one slice for each pepper plus an additional 2-3 slices.
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 Clean the peppers by removing tops, slitting the pepper lengthwise, removing the seeds and rinsing out.
3 Add olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium-low heat until warm, add onions and saute until onions are softened. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove onion-garlic mixture pan from heat to cool a bit.
4 When onions have cooled a bit, add bread crumbs, salt, pepper and cayenne and mix thoroughly.
5 Add cheese to mixture. Mix together thoroughly.
6 Stuff peppers with bread-onion mixture.
7 Place peppers in a baking dish large enough to hold them. Sprinkle a little extra shredded Monterey Jack cheese on top of peppers.
8 Pour a little chcken broth in bottom of pan to help keep the peppers moist. (About one-quarter inch deep.)
9 Cover with lid or foil and bake for an hour or so in upper middle of oven until the peppers are starting to bubble.
10 Remove cover and bake an additional ten to fifteen minutes or until pepper tops are lightly brown.
11 Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes or so and serve.
What wine you serve with this recipe will depend upon how hot you make it with the cayenne pepper. If the recipe is toned down, a good choice would be a Rhone varietal like a Roussane.
On the other hand, if you have some heat, you can go two ways, a spicy Red like Zinfandel, or if the heat is really high, choose a moderately sweet Gew?rztraminer which pairs better with spicy foods.